Our 3 week road trip

On Monday we returned from a 3 week road trip through Utah, Iowa, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and returning to Albuquerque. Susan found it somewhat stressful largely due to tension with her mother, who we visited near the end of the trip. I found it quite fulfilling and eventful. It was great opportunity to strengthen old relationships and make new friends.

Here’s the itinerary:

Monday June 18th: we left around 8 am, intending  to drive straight to Eagle Mountain, Utah to visit Susan’s Sister Shevaun and her family, but took a slight detour, visiting Roger Fulwider (an old friend) in Springville. He and I build ultra-light airplanes in the backyard of their home between 1979 and 1981. It was really great to see him again. Then we continued on to Eagle Mountain and spent the night with Tim and Shevaun.

Tuesday June 19th: we “hung out” with Tim and Shevaun until mid-afternoon. Tim was a nicer guy than I had imagined. I was impressed with him. Then we drove to Salt Lake City, and unloaded things at a townhouse near Liberty Park that we found on AirBNB. We visited Jason Christiansen, my “little brother”. He’s building an addition onto his home in Bountiful. He’s doing really well. Great to see him and his family. We all sat in their living room quite a while talking about all kinds of things.

Wednesday June 20th: climbed Ensign Peak, then visited the “This is the Place” monument and park. I dropped Susan off at a Denny’s in Layton to have dinner with nieces Cassie and Ariel, and then I drove to Bountiful to have dinner with Kirk. Great to see him as well. I’ve always considered him to be my best friend.

Thursday June 21st: Walked through Liberty Park (spent a lot of time with Jason in the late 70’s, early 80’s). Drove to Boise (hated to leave Salt Lake). Spent the night in someone’s home.

Friday June 22nd: Drove to Olympia, WA and settled into a bedroom in mobile home rented by Susan’s son, Derek, and his wife Katrina. Spent the evening with them. Gentry is very cute.

Saturday June 23rd: Visited the Children’s Hands-On Museum with Katrina and Gentry. Visited Susan’s friend, Anita, and her husband, Mark.

Sunday June 24th: Went to church with Katrina and Gentry. Then returned to their home. Susan made a pot pie for dinner. Kacy and Meg came over.

Monday: Visited Kacy and Meg (Susan’s oldest son). Went to lunch with Kacy.  Went shopping downtown Olympia?

Tuesday: Susan took Katrina to counseling appointment. Visited an antique consignment shop.

Wednesday: Took Katrina and Gentry. Visited Uncle Gene and my cousins, Theresa and Kathleen at Theresa’s home (which used to be Uncle Gene’s – very pleasant home surrounded by trees and other plants). Endured the drive back to Olympia. Dinner with Gloria (Susan’s friend) and Ray Saceda.

Thursday: Looked at lake property with Katrina? Looked at house for sale with Derek and Katrina. Had dinner with Anita and Mark.

Friday: Susan had fingerprinting done (for possible employment). Walked around Capitol Building and downtown. Babysat Gentry while Derek and Katrina went to counseling and to dinner.

Saturday: Had breakfast with Curtis, Kelly, and Oliver. Visit park with Katrina and Gentry? Dinner with Tony Williams (husband of Susan’s sister Shelby – she was feeling ill), Seneca (his son), and Dennis Feriga (friend).

Sunday July 1: Attended ward near Kacy and Meg, then went to their home for breakfast. Picked up a cake from Gloria (she’s so thoughtful). Then drove to Port Orchard (took Katrina & Gentry) to visit Shelby (Susan’s sister) and her family (husband Doug, children Mike and Christina and their families. Had a barbecue in their pleasant home and backyard.

Monday July 2: Susan dropped me off at Portland Airport. I flew to San Francisco to meet up with Michael while Susan drove alone to Redding, CA. I took the BART train from the SF airport to the Mission District. Michael showed me around on bicycle (good times). I spent the night in a small, old hotel in the Mission District (nice place, actually).

Tuesday: Had breakfast with Michael on sidewalk outside a bakery. Took BART to Antioch (as far east as it would go) and met up with Susan. We drove to through Yosemite National Park, then on to Los Banos, CA. Spent the night in someone’s home.

Wednesday July 4: Drove to Las Vegas, had dinner with Wendy (Susan’s friend) and husband Tom. Spent the night in their home.

Thursday July 5: Wendy fixed breakfast. Then we checked into the Las Vegas Westgate Hotel.

Friday July 6: Susan got a “free” facial at the hotel and ended up purchasing a bunch of their products. We drove to Wendy and Tom’s home and then on to Caesar’s Palace. Enjoyed dinner there, then discovered that their mini-van wouldn’t start. We waited over 4 hours for AAA to show up to jump-start it, which they did in less than a minute.

Saturday July 7: On our way out of Las Vegase, we had late breakfast at IHOP, then drove to St George to meet Susan’s mother (Sharon). Took her to dinner, tried to fix her lawn sprinklers. Met up with Anita and Mark at their motel. They just happened to be there for his son’s wedding.

Sunday July 8: Woke up late (almost noon). Drove through Zion National Park to Fredonia. Stayed in the Master bedroom of someone’s home.

Monday: Drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, hiked Bright Angel trail (wished I had booked a night at the lodge instead of at the home in Fredonia). Drove to Albuquerque, arriving around 9 pm.

I wish I had time to write more detail. It was an amazing trip – full of memories. Everything went pretty much as planned.

We went uncertain about out next move, and returned with the feeling that we needed to move to Olympia soon. The main reason was because of all the family members there. The urgency was largely because of Katrina’s encouragement.

It was really nice to renew and/or strengthen friendships and family bonds. That may be the last time I see Uncle Gene. He has cancer, although is doing remarkably well.

On top of Ensign peak overlooking the Salt Lake valley.
Susan’s sister, Shevaun (being silly).
Fireman Gentry
Michael (sorry for the closed eyes).
The Mission District, San Francisco.
Michael near Golden Gate Bridge.
Me and Michael in a park near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Susan in front of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park.
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park.
The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility off I-15 in the Mohave Desert near the California/Nevada border. Not so impressive in this shot, but those 3 towers were very large and extremely bright at the top. The facility deploys 173,500 heliostats, each with two mirrors focusing solar energy on boilers located on the three centralized solar power towers.
Susan, Tom, and Wendy at Caesars Palace.
At Zion National Park (doesn’t look like it, but that’s a very large arch in the background).
at the Grand Canyon, North Rim
more Grand Canyon
and still more Grand Canyon…
Balancing Rocks somewhere between North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Albuquerque.

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